Sunday, June 19, 2005

Confining civilisation to narrow bands around the poles

Climate change: are some places going to get much hotter and some places going to get much colder?

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1153513,00.html

"Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us..."

"A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world."

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http://www.ems.org/climate/pentagon_climate_change.html

"An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately,' according to a report commissioned by the Pentagon.

"The report... identifies a plausible scenario in which global warming disrupts ocean currents that help moderate climate in North America and Europe, causing a five degree Fahrenheit drop in parts of North America by 2020 and a six degree drop in Northern Europe. It says global warming 'should be... a U.S. national security concern.'"

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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1602579,00.html

"CLIMATE change researchers have detected the first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream — the mighty ocean current that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

"They have found that one of the “engines” driving the Gulf Stream — the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea — has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.

"The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades. Paradoxically, it could lead to Britain and northwestern and Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.

"Such a change has long been predicted by scientists but the new research is among the first to show clear experimental evidence of the phenomenon."

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The Sunday Herald, 19 June 2005, has a series of articles on climate change:

http://www.sundayherald.com/50335

1987: Warmest year since records began, helping to make the 1980s the hottest decade to date.

1995: The hottest year recorded so far.

1998: The hottest year in the hottest decade of the hottest century of the millennium.

2000: IPCC scientists warn that the world could warm by 6°C within a century.

2001: US president Bush rejects Kyoto.

2003: The hottest summer in Europe for at least 500 years, causing an estimated 30,000 deaths.

http://www.sundayherald.com/50323

Rob Edwards, in the Sunday Herald, 19 June 2005:

"The Antarctic ice sheet... Only a fraction of it has to melt to trigger a cataclysm... Over the past 50 years, 87% of its glaciers have retreated, and they are now retreating by an average of 50 metres a year...

"If the ice sheet melts, the level of the world’s seas could rise by about five metres, submerging half of Bangladesh and three-quarters of the Netherlands and drowning Calcutta, large parts of Sydney, London and Florida."

A scientific study last week revealed that "Bangladesh’s biggest island, Bhola, had been shrunk to half its size over the past 40 years by rising waters, making half a million people homeless.
Altogether, 50 million people in Bangladesh live less than five metres above sea level."

"The entire Amazon rainforest could dry out and die. And the world’s climate could flip into a new stable state 6ÂșC hotter than now, turning a third of the land to desert and confining civilisation to narrow bands around the poles."

"Leaked drafts of the proposed Gleneagles declaration on climate change reveal that it has been watered down by the US to the point where it no longer even accepts that human activities are to blame."

http://www.sundayherald.com/50333

"The pollution that belches from every vehicle, every factory, every farm and every home is rising up into the atmosphere and bouncing the sun’s reflected rays back to Earth, causing the greenhouse effect....

"Polar ice is melting, sea levels are rising, storms are increasing, droughts are becoming more frequent – and more communities around the globe are suffering...

"It has been accepted by every major scientific organisation, every major non-governmental organisation and the vast majority of governments.

"Even the tiny band of sceptics is dwindling, with the veteran TV botanist, David Bellamy, withdrawing from the argument after admitting that he was wrong to say that glaciers were advancing not retreating...

"An analysis of the latest figures shows that pollution from four of the G8 – Canada, US, Japan and Italy – has been increasing when it should have been decreasing.

"The US rise of 13%, between 1990 and 2002, is bigger than the overall reductions that the other seven countries are meant to achieve under Kyoto.

"Even the four countries that are on target for cutting their pollution – France, Germany, UK and Russia – have got there mostly by accident. Dirty old industries in Russia were closed by the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and in Germany, the same happened in the east after reunification.

"Much of the UK’s cuts can be attributed to the shutdown of the coal-mining industry and the Ravenscraig steelworks under the previous Conservative government. Overall, not counting Russia, the G8 countries have increased emissions of carbon dioxide by 7% since 1990, when they should have cut them by about 5%...

"Between 1970 and 1995, the availability of water in Africa decreased 2.8 times... In southern Africa and parts of the Horn, rainfall is projected to decline by about 10% by 2050...

"There are many other things that G8 countries should be doing to curb their own pollution. They need to boost their use of clean energy technologies, tapping wind, wave, tidal, solar and biomass to a much greater extent. They need to develop the technology to capture the carbon produced by burning coal and to store it under the sea or land, so that China has a clean way of utilising its coal.

"G8 leaders ....How can they carry on endorsing the unrelenting increase in air travel and car ownership...

"Along with floods in the Ganges delta and famines in Africa, it is the communities that inhabit low-lying Pacific islands or cling to the ice around the Arctic that are suffering....

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